After a mammoth session of the Edinburgh Licensing Board, finishing just after 5pm, it was agreed (by 6 votes to 2) to change our statement of policy. I voted in favour of the change. The new statement will read as follows (amended section in bold):
6.2 Where relevant representations are made, the Board will make an objective judgement as to whether other conditions may need to be attached to a licence to secure achievement of the licensing objectives. Any such conditions will be consistent with section 27 of the Act. Any conditions arising as a result of representations will primarily focus on the impact of the activities taking place at the licensed premises, on those attending the premises and members of the public living, working or engaged in normal activity in the vicinity of the premises, and will cover matters that are within the control of the licenceholder. In particular where the operating plan indicates that music is to be played in premises, the Board will always consider the imposition of a condition requiring that amplified music from those premises shall not be an audible nuisance in neighbouring residential property.
I’m obviously glad that this change has gone through, since there was considerable evidence from the music community that the current condition is having a ‘chilling effect’ on musicians and live music in the city. There was also a lot of hard work put into the working group over a number of years, and I’m glad that it has now borne fruit. I hope the music community start to see a positive change very soon.
However, I’m disappointed that none of the further points I made in my motion, either about additional safeguards for residents, or about ensuring there is evidence for a review in 18 months, or about exploring how the ‘agent of change principle’ could be applied to Licensing, were agreed. Indeed, I wasn’t even able to move these since the Convener ruled I couldn’t do so. That is a major missed opportunity. I also think it was a mistake not to further define ‘nuisance’.
I also think the change will not, on it’s own, lead to a significant change for musicians, unless there is also movement from the council on the other recommendations from the Music Venues Trust. That’s why the work of the Music is Audible working group must continue, and I’m happy to play my part in it.